N7 Billion Research Funds Unaccessed By Tertiary Institutions, Says Education Minister

The Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, has decried the inability of academics in public institutions to fully access the N10 billion provided by the federal government and domiciled with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Tetfund, to revitalise research activities in Nigerian public higher institutions.

The minister made his position known in Abuja while launching 20 Tetfund-sponsored specialized higher education textbooks, Tetfund guidelines on the National Research Fund as well as its guidelines on institution-based research, on Thursday.

Shekarau also said Tetfund, between 2009 and 2014, had allocated the sum of N5. 5 billion to public universities; N2. 541 billion to polytechnics and N2. 056 billion to the colleges of education.

According to him “the bad news is that over 70 percent of these allocated funds are still unaccessed”

“The trend is not acceptable and does not show seriousness on the part of stakeholders responsible to change the fortune of our tertiary institutions” he added.

He stressed that research work remained the cardinal objective of any tertiary institution in the world.

“Lack of funding, rather than dearth of researchable work, generally used to be the complaint as it is now. The challenge is the other way round”

Out of the allocation of over N10.052 billion to tertiary institution for research, the minister said that the sum of N7. 8 billion was yet to be accessed.

“I want to urged the academics to seize the opportunity presented by the launching of the Tetfund guidelines on institution based research to expedite efforts at accessing these funds and move our tertiary institutions and the country forward” the minister said.

Shekarau urged Tetfund to ensure that the objectives of setting up the national research fund and the national book development fund were actualised.

Also at the event, the board chairman of the Fund, Musa Babayo, said that the federal government was investing significantly in book development.

Babayo also said that the fund had succeeded in revitalising over 100 professional journals in tertiary institutions in the country.

    “The fund in the last four years has embarked on numerous projects across the country and also delivered over 30,000 projects nationwide.”

    None of our projects is abandoned or has failed. 99 percent of the 2 percent tax fund collected from the FIRS is domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria,” he added.

    The executive secretary of the Fund, Suleiman Bogoro, said was undertaking decent interventions in Nigeria’s higher institutions.

    “Tetfund has ensured less complaints about physical infrastructures in our universities, polytechnics and colleges of education, than ever before,” he said.

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